Industrial fishing is set to be banned from England’s most ecologically sensitive coastal waters in a major victory for environmental campaigners. The Government confirmed today that a new class of “Highly Protected Marine Areas” (HPMAs) will be introduced around England’s coastline, within which “all activities that could have a damaging effect on wildlife or marine habitats” would be banned. Ministers insist the new zones would enforce a greater level of protection than the current Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which allow harmful “bottom trawling” fishing practices on an industrial scale. “The UK is a global leader in marine protection, and we are leading the way internationally to deliver healthy and sustainable seas,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice. The Government is yet to confirm exactly what restrictions will apply within the HPMA zone, although it is very likely industrial fishing will be outlawed. Campaigners are also hopeful HMPAs will ban all fishing activity and any kind of oil or gas operations. Joan Edwards, director of marine conservation for The Wildlife Trusts, said HPMAs will be the “gold standard” for rewilding parts of the sea.
iNews 8th June 2021 read more »